Boston Terriers, as a breed, love to be with their people. They’re smart, playful, and enjoy being part of a family.
Some of them like to be active with their people and readily take to competitions like agility courses. Others are happy to be couch potatoes and make good companions for binging your favorite show.
Boston Terriers love being around their family members so much that some consider them clingy. Bostons have been called Velcro dogs after the way they shadow their people everywhere they go.
But is it clinginess or just a preference to be close to you? Let’s take a closer look at this behavior.
- Understanding the Companion Nature of Boston Terriers
- Do Boston Terriers Cling to One Person?
- Why is My Boston Terrier So Needy?
- Boston Terriers and Separation Anxiety
- Do Boston Terriers Get Jealous?
- Why Does My Boston Terrier Stare at Me?
Understanding the Companion Nature of Boston Terriers
When the breed was introduced in the late 1800’s, they were bred to be fighting dogs and were much larger than the current standard of 15 to 25 pounds.
However, the society ladies of the time soon fell in love with the look of the breed and, subsequently, they were bred to a smaller size and for the purpose of companionship.
Boston Terriers are genetically programmed to want to be near their humans.
If you’re wondering what it looks like for a dog to be clingy, just don’t expect to do any activity alone again.
My Oona Clare sits next to me in the kitchen while I’m cooking. She follows me from room to room. Occasionally she’ll follow me into the bathroom, but as long as she can see me in there, she’s okay.
When I’m working from home, she’s sitting right next to me and demands to sit in my lap at least once before giving up and going to her crate. Which is literally two feet away from me.
Do Boston Terriers Cling to One Person?
Some dog breeds are particularly loyal to a single person in their lives. Usually, this type of dog will only listen to and obey one family member, while ignoring the others. This is what is known as a one-person dog.
A person living alone will, most likely, not have a problem with this behavior but a home with several family members could find it less than desirable.
Fortunately, Boston Terriers do not fall under this category. Bostons are happy to obey commands from multiple family members and are perfectly happy just being around people.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t have a favorite person. In fact, it is common for Boston Terriers to have a favorite human.
Most often this is the person that feeds them, so if you want to be the favorite, start there. Other times it’s who they have the most fun with as Bostons are very playful animals. Sometimes they just create a closer bond for their own reasons.
What does favoritism look like? If you’re the favorite, you’ll get the most excited greeting when you return home. They will prefer to cuddle with you on the couch and will probably sleep on your side of the bed.
You will definitely be followed around the house more and asked to throw a ball more often than anyone else.
Why is My Boston Terrier So Needy?
Because Boston Terriers are designed to be companions, they see you as a member of their family. They certainly don’t view themselves as dogs, but as another child or friend.
They expect you to want to be as close to them as they are to you, and they want to participate in all family activities. To put it very simply, they just love you. Don’t you like to be around people you love?
As I mentioned, Oona Clare does not do well when I’m working at home. It’s not enough that we’re in the same room, but she wants to be ON me. She wants to sit next to me on the couch because I’m too far away if she’s on the floor.
This is the neediest that she gets and if she’s insistent, I will give her something to chew on to keep her busy.
Not all Bostons will behave this way. My two formers Bosties would either lie on the floor next to me or curl up on a couch. As long as they could see me, they were satisfied.
I think it’s important to mention that I got Oona Clare right before the pandemic hit and I wasn’t working then, so I had all the time in the world to be with her during her formative and most influential months.
This is when training would have been a great idea, which we will discuss in just a minute.
Boston Terriers and Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety occurs when a dog feels that the person they love will not come back. Dogs don’t have the sense of time that we do, and they have limited understanding of human language. When they see you leave, they don’t know if it’s for five minutes, five hours, or five years.
Some triggers of separation anxiety can be your Boston seeing you put on your shoes or a jacket or hearing the sound of keys jangling. Oona Clare knows that if I wake up to an alarm and get in the shower, I’m not staying home. Because of our established routine, she accepts it, albeit grudgingly.
Dogs thrive on routine. It is very important for them to know what to expect. It’s how they trust you and their small world so it’s almost crucial that you provide your Boston with regular routines.
Oona Clare knows when I go to work. My routine is already set, and she knows what comes next. By the time we get downstairs, she is expecting my departure.
She also is expecting the treat that she gets when I put her in her crate before I walk out the door. It’s a small bribe to soften the blow of me leaving, but it’s also something she knows she can depend on.
For you, it might be something like leaving their favorite blanket on the couch so they have a comfy place to stay while you’re gone. Maybe you turn on music or the TV for sound.
As long as you are doing the same thing every time, your pup will learn that these activities also result in your return.
Do Boston Terriers Get Jealous?
Honestly? Yes, Boston Terriers get jealous. However, this happens in degrees. None of my dogs have ever reacted to jealousy with aggression. They simply push their way in between me and the offender.
My daughter’s dog stays with me when she is out of town. Oona Clare loves him and they get along great. In fact, she is the only dog that he will play with in his older age.
He is also a big snuggler and if he’s in her spot while we’re watching TV, she will pace until he moves or just sit on the other side of me and pout. It’s a very visible pout.
Bostons can be quite verbal so yours may let you know he’s unhappy by barking, either at you or the offending party.
While not normally aggressive dogs, two Bostons might be aggressive with each other, especially if one views themselves as the alpha. You should always discourage this behavior and end it immediately.
This is where obedience training can be very valuable. Consistent and firm training tells your dog that jealousy will not be tolerated. A trainer can suggest alternative behaviors or expose them to situations that cause jealousy and then teach you how to redirect your dog.
Socialization will also go a long way in preventing jealousy. Introduce your Bostie to other people and other dogs. Show them attention and affection and reassure them that you still love them.
The more they associate other people and animals with your attention, the better they will be able to cope with their feelings of jealousy.
Why Does My Boston Terrier Stare at Me?
Does your Boston ever stare at you? Ruby, who I had just before Oona Clare, would stare into my eyes for what felt like forever. It was like we were looking into each other’s souls. Sometimes I think we really were.
Oona Clare will also look into my eyes, but she seems to prefer to have a conversation while doing it.
Have you ever heard you shouldn’t look a dog directly in the eyes to prevent them from attacking you?
That is because eye contact requires trust. This means that if your dog is staring at you, she isn’t judging you. She just loves you and she wants you to know and to reciprocate her love.
Are Boston Terriers Clingy?
Are Boston Terriers clingy? The honest answer is yes. However, the more negative aspects of this behavior can be managed with proper training and regular routines.
As creatures of habit, they can learn the appropriate times to get all up in your business and the rare occasion when they need to back off a little bit.
Always remember that a Boston loves with their whole heart and it’s a privilege that not very many of us get in our lives.
It only requires a little patience on your part to be rewarded with one of the best friends you could ever ask for.